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Little Steps Go a Long Way

When Rene began walking for exercise a few months ago, his goal was to get moving and lose some weight. He started by walking around the block.

“It was really difficult at first,” he remembers. “But, I just kept going.”

His perseverance has paid off. Now he does 15 laps around the track at the local park and walks everywhere in his neighbourhood. The exercise is helping him to reach his goal of losing weight. Rene was 260 lbs when he started walking and has lost more than 65 lbs. What has surprised him, his family, and his caregivers is the impact that this activity has had on other areas of his life.

Since September, Rene has lived in a home that is designed specifically for seniors who have lived with mental health challenges throughout their lives. Services here are offered through Communitas Supportive Care Society. Barbara Rusu manages the home and says that she has truly seen a transformation in Rene.

“One of the big joys in my work is seeing the way in which people we serve are transformed by the things they do,” she says. “Rene went from being sad and shy to being confident and really involved here in the home. He helps with shopping, car washing, all kinds of activities.”

Barb says that one of the biggest impacts of Rene’s steady commitment to walking has been on his insulin dependence.

“Rene has experienced a drastic reduction in his insulin use,” she says. “His goal is to get off of insulin completely.”

Rene walks with his brother Ed who is an important part of Rene’s life. They do a variety of things together like spending time in prayer, going to church, and going out for pizza. Rene deeply values this relationship.

He calls me buddy. He helps me set boundaries. I like walking with Ed. – Rene, speaking of his brother, Ed.

Walking has also helped Rene in terms of his mental health. He says that his mind feels clearer when he is walking. His advice to anyone who is considering taking up exercise is to start slow.

“I started by going around the block and it was hard because of my weight,” he says. “But I kept going. Just go slow and keep going.”